Toni and Chris
How We Met
Chris and my story began in small-town Indiana, PA; 70 miles east of Pittsburgh at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania: the home of Jimmy Stewart and a place with a notorious reputation for having some super wild parties. Chris was a member of a popular fraternity and I was your typical sorority girl, though because he is a few years older, our paths had never crossed in college. Probably a good thing, because our days, for the most part, were spent at the Sigma Chi house sipping jungle juice, covered in paint or dressed in “Anything But Clothes,” and other themed mixer attire.
He graduated in 2011 and moved into Pittsburgh to begin working in the real world while I was still in my junior year at IUP living my best life (or so I thought). 2011 was the year we had officially met while Chris was back visiting IUP and showed up at a homecoming party my sorority house was hosting. Nothing had come from the introduction and neither of us really thought much of the other at the time. Over the next two years, Chris had been back for a few more visits to relive his glory days. Still, things never transpired between us despite several exchanges during casual encounters.
In the summer of 2012, we ran into each other at a mutual friend’s going away party. A month later, I turned 21 and received a Facebook message from Chris inviting me out to the SouthSide with him and his friends; an offer I ended up declining. We exchanged messages throughout the next couple of months when he finally asked for my phone number.
I returned that fall to IUP for my final semesters, and Chris and I had kept in touch. When I went home for Thanksgiving break, he invited me again to go out; this time to his birthday party at a Pittsburgh nightclub called Cavo. I still remember telling my mom about him and how handsome he was!
That NYE, Chris extended an invite to a party at a local club. My girlfriend and I got dolled up, drank a little too much and left before midnight. Little did I know that would be the last NYE that Chris wouldn’t be my midnight kiss. After that, we continued to keep in touch but was still very casual.
In the spring of 2013, I graduated from IUP and moved back home to Pittsburgh. That June, I went to the Kenny Chesney concert at Heinz Field with some friends and ran into Chris while tailgating….And that is where our love story FINALLY begins! Our first date was on July 4th, 2013 to watch fireworks downtown and it was the best, most romantic first date ever! Since then, Chris and I have been inseparable. 5 years later, in that exact spot, we were able to celebrate our very special July 4th anniversary with all of our friends and family – the next chapter of our lives – our engagement!
how they asked
The weekend that Chris proposed was on an unforgettable trip to Cape May, New Jersey. We took a vacation there with 2 other couples, just before our 5 year anniversary. A few weeks prior to leaving on our vacation, I received an envelope from a local jeweler in our mail addressed to Chris. After freaking out and telling all my friends, I put the envelope back in our mailbox and kept my mouth shut. My friend knew about the proposal all along, so she filled him in on what I found in the mail. So, later that week, he told me that he got something in the mail for 15% off at that jeweler and suggested going to look at rings after vacation. I was so excited to go look at rings, but little did I know.. he had already chosen my dream ring!
We arrived in New Jersey on Friday, immediately hit the beach, cracked open some cold Corona’s and ate delicious seafood. No different from any other vacation! We had dinner reservations at a BYOB restaurant on Saturday night in Cape May, so I didn’t think anything of it! Chris suggested going to Sunset Beach in Cape May before dinner to take some pictures. I took photos of all the couples on the beach with the sunset in the background.
When it came time for our photo-op, Chris got down on one knee & asked the question that every girl dreams about her entire life. After tears & a lot of laughter, I finally answered his question by saying “Yes, obviously!” and the cheers and celebrations began! After the proposal, we popped champagne on the beach, went to dinner, indulged in some cocktails, and started our new life as a newly engaged couple.
When we arrived home in Pittsburgh later that week, I had no idea what else I was in for! We already had plans to go to my parent’s house for lunch with both our families. I was excited to see our family and celebrate with them, but I thought that was the extent of it. After eating and hanging out with our family, we decided to go downtown to see fireworks later. I didn’t realize that the whole family would be coming as well, but they did! We went to a local brewery for a while until Chris suggested going to a restaurant across the street. When we arrived at the restaurant, all of my friends and family were there to surprise me! It was so special having everyone I love in one room to celebrate our engagement. I am still not sure how I got lucky enough to marry the man of my dreams.. but I did!